The founder and president of a national Catholic advocacy group vowed Wednesday to get to the bottom of the allegations made against Monsignor Craig Harrison.
Stephen G. Brady of the Roman Catholic Faithful — a group whose self-professed goal is to rid the church of clerical corruption — said he is in the process of going through his old files hoping to uncover information that could be useful in his investigation into Harrison’s alleged misconduct.
He said he also plans to work with local law enforcement and track down leads provided by alleged victims in the hopes that he will get to the bottom of the situation.
“I’m going to dig and I'm not going to stop digging,” he said at a press conference held at the Holiday Inn & Suites in Bakersfield. “One way or another, we’re going to prove Father Harrison’s innocence or guilt.”
Harrison’s attorney, Kyle Humphrey, said today's press conference perpetuates unfounded allegations.
“These are the same unsubstantiated lies (he’s) been pushing since 2004. There’s no new information here,” he said. “He’s just raising his fists in protest.”
The conference was held after Brady provided The Californian and other news agencies letters from the early 2000s that he recovered detailing allegations that Harrison had sex with two high school students while he was a pastor in Firebaugh.
According to the documents, Harrison would also examine boys’ private parts every morning to check whether they were using drugs.
The accusations surfaced as part of an unrelated investigation conducted in 2004 by a retired FBI agent in Merced.
Brady said he feels Harrison’s family knows more than they’re letting on about the allegations, as two of the alleged incidents took place in the bedroom of one of Harrison’s adopted sons.
In the other case, in which Harrison allegedly had sex with a minor in the back of the priest’s Ford Explorer, the accuser specifically mentions being on a high school football team with Harrison’s son Herculano.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that his adopted son knows a lot, because (the victim) goes into great detail about being on the football team with him,” Brady said. “There’s enough here right now to tell me that Harrison’s family, his children, know who the guy is that’s making these allegations.”
While Brady said he believes the alleged victims, he understands that Harrison could be innocent.
“Father Harrison could be completely innocent, and this is just a conspiracy of half a dozen individuals out to destroy him, but I’ve never seen any conspiracy like that before,” he said.